The New School for Social Research

  • Geeti Das

    Expected Completion
    Spring 2018

    Curriculum vitae (PDF)

    Academia.edu Profile
    (PDF)

    Dissertation Title

    How We Got Better: American Psychiatric Classification and the Bureaucratization of Sexuality 1970 - Present

    Dissertation Committee
    Victoria Hattam, Lisa Rubin, Rafi Youatt

    Profile

    I work on gender and sexuality both in the United States and in the context of globalization. My research and teaching focus on how the dynamics of institutional change are affected by contestations over knowledge production and standardization. Most recently, my article, "Mostly Normal: American Psychiatric Taxonomy, Sexuality, and Neoliberal Mechanisms of Exclusion," appeared in Sexuality Research and Social Policy. I also presented at the 2017 European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) Joint Sessions in Nottingham.

    In the 2017-18 academic year, I am teaching a course called "Global Gender and Sexuality," designed for advanced undergraduate students. In 2017, I taught "Gender Beyond the West," which I proposed to The New School's Global Studies Program as a means of broadening discussions of gender and sexuality beyond Western epistemologies. In the same year, I was honored to receive the Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award, based in part on student nominations.

    As the coordinator of the Global Studies Program, I have had the opportunity to collaborate with the Chair on curriculum development, strategic planning, and program assessment. Past and ongoing work includes editorial and research support for non-governmental organizations based in New Delhi. This includes contributions to campaigns for the right to food and against prison torture. Across my research, teaching, and work in NGO's, I am committed to finding ways for institutions to build enduring mechanisms that support and maximize people's autonomy under conditions of duress.

    If you are interested in having a conversation about my work, or have questions, please feel free to get in touch.

    Contact Information

    H. Howell Williams

    Expected Completion
    Spring 2017

    Curriculum vitae (PDF)

    Dissertation Title

    Re-Focus on the Family: The development of a liberal family politics 1980-2015 

    Dissertation Abstract

    My research documents the development of a progressive family politics in America from the Reagan era to the present. Conservatives have based claims in favor of “traditional” gender roles, deregulation, and lower taxes on a defense of the traditional family for the for more than four decades. In recent years this conservative capture of the family has given way to an emergent Left politics that emphasizes familial diversity, exemplified in part by President Barack Obama’s outreach programs targeting fatherless men of color and references to his own family life in speeches. My research on presidential rhetoric, federal policy, and social movements reveals that conservative “family values” politics laid the groundwork for a more liberal and democratic family politics now unfolding.

    Each chapter of my doctoral dissertation, entitled “Re-Focus on the Family: The development of a liberal family politics 1980-2015,” focuses on one aspect of the shifting terrain of family discourse and social policy. The first chapter examines “personal responsibility” rhetoric as a central element of welfare reform policy debates. Over the late-20th century, conservatives reframed the liberal call for greater community responsibility in addressing familial breakdown as a demand for more personal responsibility among people of color and the poor. The second chapter analyzes the history of child support enforcement to show how the federal government rationalizes increased scrutiny of men’s lives in a process I call “the responsibilization of fatherhood.” Chapter three is a case study of President Barack Obama, who has adopted conservative family themes and redeployed them for liberal purposes. Obama demonstrates both the dialogic process of articulating political messages and the pitfalls of reshaping themes. Chapter four focuses on conservative anti-gay discourse to show how the mantra of “family values” is no longer culturally resonant. By comparing Anita Bryant’s activism from the 1970s with Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis’s recent protest against same-sex marriage, I show that conservative anti-gay rhetoric has shifted toward personal religious freedom away from defending the traditional family. The final chapter considers three social movement organizations that work for criminal justice reform by highlighting the impact of tough sentencing laws on families. These organizations rework familial political discourse by applying the theme of family impact, first promoted by conservatives in the Reagan White House, for liberal ends. In the conclusion I argue that progressive groups can win public favor by framing their issues with reference to family, but these references must confront the historical legacy of conservative familial politics.

     


    Profile

    Research Interests

    American Political Development; Contemporary Political Theory; 20th Century American History; Sociology of Family Life

    Writing Samples
    Writing Sample

    Profile

    I teach and research. I read. I care about the future, democracy, and the ways that politics is communicated. I think the family is a deeply flawed institution. It also might be our only hope. 

    Courses Taught
    "American Conservatism"
    "Gender, the Family, and the State in American Politics"
    "Contemporary Feminist Theory"
    "Women in US Politics"

    Teaching Statement

    I have had the pleasure of teaching a variety of courses, including introductions to American politics, feminist theory, and conservative thought. My courses are united by a concern for American political institutions, race politics, feminist theories, and political philosophy. Previous courses include lectures, seminars, and discussion sessions held at universities in New York City, Dresden, Germany, and Manchester, England.

    Contact Information
    hhwilliams@newschool.edu

    Personal Website

    Syllabi
    American Conservatism (PDF)

    J. Ricky Price

    Expected Completion
    Spring 2017

    Dissertation Title

    Generations of AIDS: The Political Ecology of a Thirty-Five Year Old Virus 

    Dissertation Committee
    Victoria Hattam Chair, Miriam Ticktin, Jasmine Rault, Rafi Youatt, Ann Snitow

    Dissertation Abstract

    My dissertation, “Generations of AIDS: The Political Ecology of a Thirty-Five year old virus” uses the AIDS crisis as a window into the dynamics of institutional change in the U.S. Political System. I argue that AIDS reconfigured the U.S. approach to disease prevention but that the fundamental structures of U.S. public health institutions were left untransformed. To explain this phenomenon I examine documents from early HIV/AIDS activists and organizations, the Centers for Disease Control, the National Institute of Health, and federal legislation addressing the epidemic. My primary source materials include scientific journals, magazines, and biology textbooks, and secondary texts charting the history of AIDS science. I couple this archival work with interviews with contemporary actors who have influenced AIDS discourse, ranging from artists and activists to HIV scientists and historians. The multi-method approach offers a way to get at both the complexity of the virus, which has been woefully neglected within institutional scholarship, and the complexity of U.S. public health institutions, which has been neglected within literature on HIV/AIDS.

    The first chapter examines the ways in which memory works to reconfigure the history of the virus for different sets of communities. I analyze contemporary institutional and community memory projects, oral histories, memorials, and museums to highlight the multiple sites where the history and meaning of the ongoing epidemic are produced towards different ends. The second chapter examines how the Centers for Disease Control’s epidemiological methods were reconfigured, not due to new scientific data, but rather, because of a focused and persistent social movement mobilization that forced the institution to change. The third chapter explores how the epidemic was securitized in the late 1990s leading to a reconfiguration of how the U.S. conducts global health development work, culminating in the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), passed in 2003 by George W. Bush. The final empirical chapter explores how three decades of research on the immune system has reconfigured the way scientists understand the inner working of our bodies. The wake of AIDS fostered new political formations, new institutional alignments, and new questions about where our bodies begin and end. However the crisis has not led to solutions to the ever-persistent questions about the access and affordability of health care. After generations of people and policies have combatted the virus, we remain outwitted not only because the virus is biologically complex but more so because the disease is understood as a personal failing of marginalized people, as a security threat, or as a manageable illness rather than a communal political problem catalyzed by systemic racism, poverty, and homo- and trans- phobias.


    Profile

    Research Interests

    Feminist Science Studies, Historical Institutionalism, Political Ecology, Critical race, disability, and trans theory, Queer Theory

    Courses Taught
    Teaching Fellow (Instructor of Record): “Radical Arguments: First Year Writing I” (Fall 2011, 2012, 2013)
    Teaching Fellow (Instructor of Record): “Queer Theories: First Year Writing II” (Spring 2012, 2013,
    Teaching Assistant: “Introduction to Feminist Thought and Actions” (Fall 2012)
    Teaching Assistant: “Old Left, New Left, Future Left,” University Lecture (Spring 2011)
    Teaching Assistant: “Introduction to Cultural Studies” (Spring 2012- Present)

    Selected Publications
    Price, J. Ricky. “The Treatment and Prevention of HIV Bodies: The Contemporary Science and Politics of a Thirty-Year-Old Epidemic,” in LGBTQ Politics: A Critical Reader. Eds. Marla Brettschneider, Susan Burgess, and Cricket Keating. Forthcoming 2017, NYU Press.

    Contact Information
    pricer@newschool.edu

    Lara-Zuzan Golesorkhi

    Expected Completion
    May 2018

    Curriculum vitae (PDF)

    Major Field
    American Politics

    Minor Field
    Comparative Politics

    Dissertation Title

    State-Islam relations in Germany and in the US - When Muslim Immigration and Secularization Meet

     

    Profile

     

    As a scholar, educator, and human rights advocate, I am concerned with issues pertaining to immigration and religion in Europe and in the US. My scholarly work and teaching experience span subfields, but my main focus lies in American Politics and Comparative Politics. I am the founder and executive director of a UN–awarded non-profit NGO (WoW e.V.) that addresses employment rights of Muslim immigrants and refugees in Germany. My policy practice has centered on ethnic, religious, and gender discrimination. While my scholarship and policy practice are closely connected in their thematic concerns, the former has generated distinctive theoretical insights while the latter has been focused on producing concrete recommendations in the area of migration.   

    My recent publication, "Unveiling Structural Challenges: The Headscarf and Employment Integration in Germany," appeared in the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs. Drawing from my dissertation research and policy practice, I examine the German employment sector as a space for integration, while making suggestions for an optimization of employment integration for women with Muslim migration background. I also recently presented a paper at the 2017 APSA Conference, "Employment Integration at Any Cost Germany’s 2016 Integration Act and Employment Measures for Refugees," which is currently under review.

    I have taught undergraduate courses at The New School -- including as a 2017 Teaching Fellow at the Eugene Lang College -- and at Queens College. Recent courses include Muslims and Islam in the U.S. (The New School), American Immigration Law (Queens College). I have also served as a teaching assistant in introductory undergraduate courses on American political institutions, as well as American domestic and foreign policy. 

    My next project will be a critique of citizenship as an inclusionary mechanism, examining the case of Muslim immigrants in both the United States and Europe. I always welcome questions about my scholarship, teaching, and policy practice. Please feel free to contact me.

     

    Contact Information
    golel902@newschool.edu

    Michelle Weitzel

    Expected Completion
    Spring 2018

    Dissertation Title

    Keeping Order: Sound Power and the Colonized Body

    Dissertation Abstract

    Sound—existing at the interface of physiological reception and vibratory signal—represents an understudied modality of political power. In neglecting the audial dimension of the political realm, we fail to perceive a crucial host of governance strategies adopted by military and civilian authorities, consigning us to a partial understanding from which to discern contemporary local-level conflicts, government-civil society relations, and strategies of territorial domination and identity making. This dissertation centers on how political power is constituted through sound, or how sound serves as a mechanism of power, by tracing two keynote sounds—the Israeli tzeva adom, or “code red” air raid siren, and the Muslim call to prayer, or adhan, in colonial Algeria and contemporary France—across their respective political contexts. These cases demonstrate the body’s conscription into relations of power, showcasing the material and affective registers that undergird public opinion and behavior in contentious politics and revealing, in the process, a new way of understanding domination and resistance.


    Profile

    Research Interests

    Critical theory, Islam, comparative politics, sound studies, postcolonialism, biopolitics, borders

    Teaching experience
    “Sound-Power: New Dimensions of the Global,” Fall, 2015. I designed an undergraduate research seminar for Global Studies based on my dissertation research. The course centered on techniques of governance in the neoliberal era viewed through the lens of sensory politics. Student evaluation of teaching effectiveness: 5.0 (highest possible score).
    “The Arabian Peninsula: Politics and Power in the Middle East,” upcoming, Spring 2017. The course examines the modern histories, social organizations, cultures, and political systems of 21st Century Arabia, focusing on Yemen, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia. At the heart of the region, these rapidly transforming desert nations provide sites for a critical investigation into themes central to Middle Eastern politics.
    Comparative/American Politics: “Power and Visuality,” Spring 2013, Fall 2014. Topics included modernity and modernization, postwar culture and the politics of representation, the body as a site of protest, and the discursive and aesthetic circulation of ideas in a post-1989 global context.
    “U.S. and the World in the 21st Century,” Spring, 2015. Course themes centered on U.S. foreign policy, democracy, and American empire. My section included an area focus on ISIS and conflicts in the Middle East.
    “Immigration, Politics, and America Today,” Spring 2016. Topics included migration theory, the history of U.S.-Mexico migration, contemporary immigration flows and immigration as a political issue.

    Contact Information
    weitzel@newschool.edu

    Scott Ritner

    Curriculum vitae (PDF)

    Dissertation Title

    The Critical Spirit, Simone Weil's Critique of Oppression

    Dissertation Abstract

    In this project, I argue that Simone Weil’s (1909-1943) mystical critical theory provides a prolegomena to the political problems of our contemporary situation. Weil’s critique of oppression operates at both the material and ideological levels. On the material ideological level, her critique of the coercive nature of ideological orthodoxy is couched in terms of the distinction between idolatry and free thought. Thusly free thought is allowed to be both atheist materialism and true religion in that place where they meet on a political and ethical level to combat contemporary idolatry. The control of ideological freedom is underpinned by physical coercion and material need rather than the needs of the soul. It is only by addressing the needs of the soul, on the political level, that we can achieve the transcendent (though still material) moment of the love of neighbor which is both the pathway and the goal of social critique and social movements. I make this argument by way of analysis of her critique of the Church, the State, and the party, her critique of oppressive and free forms of labor, her critique of violence, and her mysticism and utopian vision for post-War France.

    At the same time as this project is a study of Weil's political thought, it has relevance to broader practitioners of critical theory and fellow participants in contemporary, post-Occupy, social movements. To this end, I employ Weil’s own use of the term “oppression” because it provides fertile ground for the investigation of society in an open and inclusive way. I draw from her advocacy for heterodox thought for the next wave of anti-ideological movements. I present her deep understanding of the affective realities of France’s interwar factory system as a model for understanding how precarious laborers are oppressed by the constant threat of humiliation in contemporary society. I see the social ramifications of “the violence that does not kill just yet” that Weil reads in the Iliad and in French colonial practices in the never-ending cycle of police violence in the United States. And, like Weil, I see the promise of a free society of ethical individuals in nourishing communities but do not expect such a society to resolve all forms of social oppression in contemporary society – though I am not yet willing to compromise. Within the broader project of critical theory, I embrace the pessimistic premise that critique is necessary even without any suggestion of change; and the conclusion that when change does take place, everything will be the same, only slightly different. This is why Weil’s utopian vision of post-war France is compromised at best, cynical at worst.


    Profile

    Research Interests

    Political Theory, Continental Political Theory, Critical Theory, Mysticism, Jewish Political Thought

    Courses Taught
    Revolution & Political Violence (Fall 2012): introductory or intermediate
    Politics & Literature (Fall 2013): advanced-level course
    Women in Political Theory: introductory-level course

    Selected Publications
    “The Training of the Soul: Simone Weil’s Dialectical Disciplinary Paradigm, a Reading Alongside Michel Foucault” in Simone Weil and Continental Philosophy, ed. A. Rebecca Rozelle-Stone, London; Rowman & Littlefield, Forthcoming.
    “Judith Butler’s Critique of Zionism: Jewishness, Divine Law, and Divine Violence,” The Queens College Journal of Jewish Studies, Vol.XV, 141-150, Spring, 2013.

    Contact Information
    ritns028@newschool.edu

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